The signature sound of Bleachers
mastermind Jack Antonoff could still be heard all over pop radio in the excruciating four years since the release of Strange Desire.
Antonoff has worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Lorde, Taylor Swift, Sia, Troye Sivan, and Grimes. His touch is nearly impossible to ignore, with soaring choruses and dreamy, 80s-inspired synths.
Expectations were high after successful singles "Don't Take the Money," "Hate That You Know Me," and "I Miss Those Days," three songs that encompass everything you could ever love about Bleachers. However, most of the second album is a surprising departure from that well-known sound. It moves on from Springsteen tributes and instead channels the Beatles and Elton John. The surefire ‘song of the summer' candidates are replaced by softer introspective tracks that behave as chapters of an intricate narrative. Gone Now
is an album that needs to be listened to in order; from "Goodmorning" to "Goodbye," each song builds upon the last.
delivers the easily recognizable, painfully honest lyrical style of Strange Desire.
Antonoff continues to masterfully combine heartbreak with upbeat, emphatic melodies; new tracks "Nothing Is U" and "Everybody Lost Somebody" focus their energy on persevering through life after loss. Gone Now
is an exciting early summer release, but it lacks the high-powered quality that made Bleachers so successful in the first place.
Antonoff appears to be at a crossroads, torn between his triumphant new role as a producer and his growth within his own projects. On album release day, Antonoff posted a note to fans: "You deserve my best. I deserve your best. It's kind of all we have." The album is an artistic feat four years in the making, but doesn't feel like the best Bleachers has to offer us. It still sounds like the soundtrack to a never before seen John Hughes film. But the album lacks those celebratory, atmospheric Bleachers hooks we've all come to love, as if Antonoff has spent all his best material on other artists.